Northern Illinois University Elevates Its Athletics Programs with New AstroTurf® Soccer and Baseball Fields

Northern University recently approved the installation of new AstroTurf® fields at the Soccer and Track & Field Complex and at Ralph McKinzie Field, home of NIU Huskies Baseball.

Dalton, Ga. , 2.May2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — University of Northern Illinois announces plans to replace two on-campus athletic fields, taking an important step forward in the school’s quest to further support student athletes and ensure the future success of NIL athletic programs. The University Board of Trustees recently approved the installation of new AstroTurf® fields at the University University of Northern Illinois Football and Athletics Complex and at Ralph McKinzie Field, home of NIU Huskies Baseball.

The school already has some of the best athletic facilities in the state, and now with these much-needed upgrades, NIU Student athletes, as well as local sports programs using the fields, will benefit from being able to hold practices, games and tournaments on state-of-the-art playing surfaces.

“We’re really excited about the pitch upgrade this summer,” said the men’s soccer coach Ryan Swan. “The high-performance turf will allow us to develop further as a team. In addition, the interface improvements will really improve our playstyle.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our partnership with AstroTurf. We are excited to train and play on a premium surface that offers playability, consistency, durability and aesthetics.”

For the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex, AstroTurf® will install a LigaTurf soccer turf system using RootZone 3D3 mix. Designed specifically for elite soccer games, LigaTurf offers the next best thing for a natural grass pitch, but without the maintenance requirements or weather vulnerability issues.

Northern Illinois has a long tradition of winning football and they are doing really great things there, he said Carl Capellas, soccer manager for AstroTurf. “The soccer field hasn’t been up to par for a long time and that’s why they’re getting the LigaTurf line.

“The relationship we have with the school and AstroTurf products sealed the deal. The relationships and system have brought them to a durable system that will last.”

The huskies will benefit from the predictable playing surface and incredible durability that AstroTurf® soccer fields offer. The RootZone is engineered to minimize spatter in the infill, keeping the turf pristine longer. And the field will also make training and games safer, allowing players to push harder on the field. AstroTurf’s LigaTurf RootZone 3D3 soccer turf helps protect joints and provides optimal cleat release, making it a huge improvement over the current turf, which is 14 years old.

For Ralph McKinzie Field, NIU chose AstroTurf’s Diamond Series RBI baseball turf. It features a RootZone layer to reduce interference from infill spatter and create more realistic ball hops and legend-shaped high-tech fibers for unmatched durability. For this project, the school is replacing the existing dirt and natural grass in the infield and laying new grass in the foul territory areas. The visiting team’s bullpen also gets an upgrade.

“Players and fans will love this new pitch,” he said Aaron Klotz, AstoTurf’s National Manager of Baseball Sales. “Players will love the predictable bounces the Diamond series will give them. Our recipe for baseball systems is the best in the business.”

The modernization of Ralph McKinzie Field is the first step in the school’s planned Walt and Janice Owens Ballpark project. Walt OwensAffectionately known on campus as “Coach O,” was a professional baseball player — he played as both a pitcher and outside fielder for the Detroit Stars of the Negro American League — and former NIU baseball head coach. He was also a professor University of Northern Illinois from 1973 to 2007.

When the project is complete, the baseball complex will be officially dedicated in honor Walt Owenswho passed away in 2020 and his wife, Janice Owens.

The new AstroTurf® fields at the Soccer and Track & Field Complex and Ralph McKinzie Field are part of a larger effort to improve facilities for NIU student athlete. These upgrades add world-class resources to the campus that allow current student athletes and future generations to get more out of their time as a huskie.

About AstroTurf®
For athletes and sports enthusiasts, AstroTurf® has redefined the way the game is played. The brand offers advanced multisport and specialized artificial turf systems with proprietary technical technologies. A growing number of high schools, colleges, professional sports teams, and communities continue to choose AstroTurf-branded products for their premium quality, technical superiority, and safety. To learn more, visit AstroTurf’s website at

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Chris StephensAstroTurf, 706-218-5394,


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